River Forest police nab catalytic converter thief

Chicago man allegedly stole car part from Concordia parking garage

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By Marty Stempniak

Staff Reporter

River Forest police arrested a Chicago man last week, for allegedly stealing a car part from a vehicle parked in Concordia University's parking garage in September.

Samuel Collier, 29, of Chicago's Austin neighborhood, allegedly ripped a catalytic converter off a car parked at Concordia on Sept. 13. River Forest police were able to garner a license plate number from a suspect's car from security cameras, and discovered that the car was registered to a Naperville address.

There, Naperville police nabbed Collier on Dec. 8, after he was observed stealing another catalytic converter. He's believed to be involved in 10 other thefts in the Naperville area.

Collier was jailed in DuPage County and released on bail last month before River Forest police could take custody of him for the September theft, said interim River Forest police Chief Gregory Weiss.

"When he got released, we weren't made aware of it, so then we had to go track him down again," Weiss said.

While on surveillance, River Forest police spotted Collier sitting in his car chatting with someone while parked near the intersection of Washington and Long in Chicago Tuesday, Jan. 11. He was arrested without incident and taken into River Forest police custody, according to Weiss.

The Cook County state's attorney's office approved a class 2 felony theft charge against Collier the same day as the arrest. A judge set Collier's bail at $20,000 last week, Weiss said, and he was sent to county jail.

The converter stolen in September was valued at $1,200, according to police. Such auto parts are coveted for the precious metals they contain, such as platinum, and are sold on the black market for the material, rather than to be used in other cars.

"That's what makes them so attractive to thieves is whatever metal is inside it," Weiss said.

A second suspect involved in the September theft is believed to be dead, according to Weiss, which River Forest police are working to confirm.

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